Thursday, February 25, 2010

Solo Traveling

Women young and old have all experienced a bout of wanderlust, but have safety concerns put traveling on the back burner? Is the fact that you are a woman stopping you from exploring the world? As of late, there have been a number of films depicting horrific crimes against women travelers (e.g. Hostel or Taken ), thus fueling the idea that traveling is no longer safe. Although there is some truth communicated of the storylines of these films, one must be smart and realize that in order to stay safe, your greatest tool is research and education.

Rick Steves, an author, historian, and travel show host also tackled the subject of females traveling alone. Steves says, “As a solo woman, you're more approachable than a couple or a solo man. You'll make friends from all over the world, and you'll have experiences that others can only envy. When you travel with a partner, you need to compromise, your focus narrows, and doors close. When you're on your own, you're open to the moment.”

Although Steves sells solo travel rather well, even the most independent women can find traveling alone intimidating. Do not fret, there is advice for nervous female globe trekkers, and traveling alone is possible. A few tips I found to be very useful, and I myself have used include:
· Start out cautious and figure out as you travel what feels safe to you.
· Read up on the country’s current events.
· Look like you know where you are going. If you look flustered, you may be making yourself and obvious target to watchful eyes.
· Do not be afraid to ask for help, if anything, ask other females nearby.
· Research, research, research! Learn about customs, common phrases, appropriate attire, and even body language. You would not want to be by yourself in a country, only to find out that your entire outfit has offended the last twenty people you passed on the street.
· Lastly, if you decide to stay at a hotel, I would discourage you from putting the “please clean” sign up. Allowing someone to go into your room unattended is risky for a number of reasons, just don’t do it and stay tidy.
The world is in fact your oyster, so don’t be afraid and go find that pearl.
By: Marina S. WRC Volunteer

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